Update 2.0 - Educator Resources
This year Mayor Sylvester Turner proclaimed October 12, 2020 as Indigenous Peoples Day in the city of Houston. In celebration of the new proclaimed day, Houstonians gathered at Herman Park to honor and celebrate idigenous people's day for the first time in our city's history. Indigenoues people day was first celebrated in 1990 by South Dakota and since then 14 states and over 130 cities have adopted it. The push to transition from Columbus day to Indigenous Peoples Day comes after the long history of mistreatment and suffrage of indigeouns people in this country. According to The World, “The number of people living in North, Central and South America when Christopher Columbus arrived is a question that researchers have been trying to answer for decades. Unlike in Europe and China, no records on the size of Indigenous societies in the Americas before 1492 are preserved...By combining all published estimates from populations throughout the Americas, we find a probable Indigenous population of 60 million in 1492.”
According to the US Government Bureau of Indian Affairs, there are 600 Indian tribes in the contiguous 48 states and Alaska. In Texas there are 3 federally recognized tribes, the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas, the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe, and Ysleta del Sur Pueblo Tribe.
Here in Houston, The Karankawa tribe once ruled the Houston-Galveston region before they were extinct. “The name Karankawa became the accepted designation for several groups or bands of coastal people who shared a common language and culture. Those bands, identified in early historic times, included the Capoques (Coaques, Cocos), Kohanis, Kopanes (Copanes), and Karankawa proper (Carancaquacas). They inhabited the Gulf Coast of Texas from Galveston Bay southwestward to Corpus Christi Bay,” states the Texas State Historical Association. Their full history can be read here,
Now South of Houston stands one of the long standing federally unrecognized tribes of Texas, the Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe, located in Brownsville. “Data in the archives indicated that the Carrizo indigenous were found in areas of the mouth of the modern-day Zacate Creek and Rio Grande.
The region was described as overly vegetated with bamboo plants, carrizo, which the tribe used to build their jacales as well as hunting tools, spears, bows and arrows.Their numbers had become part of the record, having been counted for the first time in a census of Villa de San Agustin de Laredo in 1789.
In the book Life in Laredo (A Documentary of the Laredo Archives),Brother Robert D. Wood observed,The census of 1789 distinguished three classes of people: Spaniards, Matzos and Mulattos.
The census totaled 700 populations in the three groups. Wood also wrote,Like something of an afterthought, there is a mention of 110 Carrizo Indians attached to the town Laredo.In forty-four years, the population had grown almost ten times.” Link to their page and history
To the north of Houston is Chikawa Azetec Tribe, a group of indigenous people who seek to educate and reconnect others to their indigenous through dance and education. This summer TEJAS Media Interns had the opportunity to engage with members of Chikawa and document their story while learning about the tribe's history and importance of reconnecting with indigneous groups.